US considers action on EU electronics tariffs

The US is considering action against the European Union over tariffs imposed on certain electronics products.

US considers action on EU electronics tariffs

US trade representatives say they are in discussions with other countries who feel that EU tariffs on products like set-top boxes are a violation of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which has been in place since 1997.

The ITA agreement calls on World Trade Organization members to eliminate tariffs on IT goods such as computers and computer parts.

Europe has imposed or has threatened to impose tariffs on products like multi-function printers, certain liquid crystal display monitors and set-top boxes, arguing it can impose tariffs on those items because they were not invented when the ITA was negotiated.

“We’re kind of burned out on the jaw-boning side of the equation. It’s not working,” says US trade representative Susan Schwab. “We are looking at going to resolution on the ITA with the World Trade Organization.”

Schwab says she would prefer not to litigate, because it’s time-consuming and would not solve the fundamental issue of whether “convergence” products, technology items that can perform more than one function, are covered under the ITA.

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